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Women and Law - Infanticide and Forced Caesareans - Assignment Example

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This paper "Women and Law  - Infanticide and Forced Caesareans" focuses on the fact that George Burrows put forth the proposition that there exists a connection between the functions of the brain and the uterine system. He states that the interruption in one process may interfere with the other.  …
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Women and Law - Infanticide and Forced Caesareans
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Download file to see previous pages Ethical issues are posed in this connection, especially in the violation of a woman’s fundamental right to autonomy in her reproductive decisions, which has been guaranteed under Articles 8 and 12 of the European Convention of Human Rights and incorporated into the UK law through the Human Rights Act of 1998.

The first forced caesarean section in Britain was sanctioned by the High Court in 1992. Subsequent petitions were made on an emergency basis, against the women’s wishes, when the lives of the fetuses were perceived to be in danger. As Dyer reports, one of the women had a history of psychiatric treatment but did not have any mental disorder, while there was no question at all about another woman’s mental competence1. Yet the High Court allowed the caesareans to be performed, overriding the wishes of the women. In the two cases reported by Dyer, the question of the mental competence of the women was questioned by the judges, who concluded that the pain and stress of labour had prevented the women from weighing all their choices and making an informed decision which could be relied upon and on this basis, the caesareans were authorized.

Another unusual case that involved the question of the autonomy of a women’s right to refuse treatment was that of Dolan B, Parker C, Bewley S, Whitfield A, Bastian H, Conroy C. Tameside and Glossop Acute Services Trust v CH (a patient).2 In this case, there was a conflict between the ethical duty as perceived by the doctors to save the fetus which was in a critical situation against the mother’s express wishes. The right to perform a forcible caesarean was granted by the Court under the Mental Health Act, rather than falling under the purview of common law where the free will consent would have been vital.

This decision in the Glossop case and the sanction of the Court provided under the Mental Health Act has been criticized as overriding a woman’s right to decide on the kind of obstetric care that she may wish to receive.     ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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